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By Andrew Beck, ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project

Another day, another attempt by politicians to shame and humiliate a woman seeking an abortion. Yet again, the government intrusion pushes right into the exam room.

Today the state of North Carolina is asking an appeals court to reinstate a medically unnecessary, intrusive, and mandatory ultrasound law, which a federal judge blocked earlier this year. North Carolina's law would require a physician to show every woman who seeks an abortion an image of the fetus, describing the image in detail during the procedure. The physician has to do this even if the doctor thinks it would be psychologically harmful and even if a woman says she doesn't want to see it or hear it.

In fact, the state's position is that if a woman doesn't want to see the ultrasound screen and hear the detailed description, she should just put on eye blinders and headphones.

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RICHMOND, Va. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, October 29, over a 2011 North Carolina law that would have required abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before performing an abortion, even if the woman objects. A federal court struck down key provisions of the law in January; the state is now appealing that ruling.

“These unconstitutional measures would have prevented doctors from using their best medical judgment to provide patients with care based on their specific individual needs,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Politicians have no business intruding into individuals’ private medical decisions.”

WHAT: Oral arguments in appeal of case that struck down demeaning 2011 ultrasound law

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GREENSBORO - U.S. District Judge William Osteen today ruled that North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. He is the second federal judge to do so in five days. The ruling came in two lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn issued a separate ruling that struck down North Carolina’s marriage ban and added North Carolina to the list of states to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Judge Osteen, who was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, also gave North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger the ability to intervene in the case on appeal.

“Judge Osteen’s ruling is the second in five days to declare North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples to be unconstitutional,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “This second ruling further emphasizes that North Carolina’s now-defunct marriage ban was discriminatory and denied same-sex couples their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law. The legislature can attempt to pursue an appeal if they so choose; however, that would only unnecessarily expend taxpayer resources. North Carolinians can rest assured: the freedom to marry is here to stay.”

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RALEIGH – A federal judge in Asheville today ruled that North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

Judge Max Cogburn’s ruling extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in North Carolina and requires North Carolina to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states.

“This is a historic day for freedom and equality in North Carolina,” said Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Thousands of North Carolinians are now able to marry the person they love and receive the dignity and legal security that comes with having that marriage recognized in their home state. For countless couples and their children, this victory is nothing short of life changing.”  

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